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How to Care for Peace Lilies
How to Care for Peace Lilies

Peace lilies are a wonderful starter plant since they are relatively easy to care for. It can grow in a variety of situations, and it is a very hardy plant that adapts well to changes. Though it is not a true lily, it still has beautiful white flowers which are a combination of the white modified leaf or hood and the spadix, the spike of small flowers. The flowers give the plant its name since the white flowers resemble white flags of surrender.

01

Where to grow them

Peace lily with tiled background GavinD / Getty Images

Peace lilies are one of the most versatile plants. Even for people generally hopeless with plants, these plants are a great place to start. Though they prefer bright, indirect light, they can grow even in relatively low light levels. This makes them perfect for apartments, offices, or any other places that may not have an ideal spot for pickier house plants. They are usually best as indoor plants in most areas since they are sensitive to cold and too much direct light, but they can grow in zones 10 to 12 outside. Plant them in a shady area where the soil will stay moist. Wherever they grow, keep in mind that they are toxic if ingested, so keep them out of reach of pets and children.

02

Planting and transplanting

Peace lily in the house beside the window

Peace lilies enjoy being crowded in their pots, but they do still require the occasional transplant. Replanting them every spring can help the plant thrive with fresh soil and keep them from outgrowing their pots. Especially if the peace lily begins to wilt every few days even with regular watering, it is time to replant to a pot that won’t need to be watered as often. When transplanting, move them to a pot only slightly bigger than the existing pot, no more than a third larger than the root ball. Peace lilies are resilient, so they can be handled a bit rough while transplanting.

03

Dividing peace lilies

Woman dividing peace lily HMVart / Getty Images

If you want more peace lilies in your home, it's fairly simple to divide the plant into smaller plants. While transplanting, split the lily into smaller clumps. Be sure to keep at least a few leaves to a clump. If you want to experiment a bit growing the peace lilies, one of the divided sections can be grown in water. They grow well in water as long as the base of the plant is kept slightly suspended above the water to keep it from rotting. If you already have enough peace lilies, the new peace lilies can make wonderful gifts to friends or family, especially as a housewarming gift to someone who is just starting a plant collection.

04

Harvesting seeds

Close up of lily spadix Kyaw_Thiha / Getty Images

If you want to start a new plant from scratch instead of transplanting, you can harvest seeds from a peace lily plant. Watch the flowers for signs of pollination like green hoods and swollen green center spikes. Leave these pollinating flowers alone for four to six months. Once the pod becomes dry and brown or black, cut the seedpod stalk at its base with clean pruning shears. Scrape the seeds out of the pods and put them on a hard, smooth, flat surface. Separate the seeds from the leftover pod and scraps. Use them right away or store them in a cool, dry place in a bag or envelope.

05

Growing a new peace lily

small sprouted seeds on windowsill Tatiana Dvoretskaya / Getty Images

When germinating a seed, it can help improve growing and drainage to plant in germination potting mixes before moving to regular soil. Spread the seeds on the soil mixture or on top of a thin layer of moss on top of the soil. Place the hopeful seed in bright but indirect sunlight, and covering the pot with a clear piece of plastic or glass will help keep the moisture and humidity in as the seed grows. If you need to water, use bottom-watering, where you place the pot in water about halfway up the pot until the top of the soil is wet again. The seed should sprout in about ten days.

06

Watering a peace lily

Peace lily house plant with coffee and notepad and pen

Peace lilies are known as xvery dramatic plants. They will suddenly start to wilt if they do not have enough water, and this is a good indication to water it immediately. They will perk back up in a few hours after being watered. Keep the soil moist, and when the top inch of the soil is dry, give the lily more water until there is overflow coming out of the bottom of the pot. Since they are native to tropical rainforests of America, they can be misted, which helps keep their leaves from getting dusty, but it is not necessary to keep them healthy.

07

How to get a peace lily to bloom

Peace lily in a window Grumpy Cow Studios / Getty Images

Peace lilies are known for their beautiful and simple flowers. They just need enough water and light. If it has been a while since your lily bloomed, move it someplace where it is getting brighter but still indirect light. While they can survive in low light areas, they will rarely bloom there. Once it is blooming, watch for the spathe, the spiky part within the white flower, to turn green. Once it does, you can cut it off at the base and possibly get more flowers, or simply let it wither naturally.

08

Fertilizing

wilting peace lily Ian Dyball / Getty Images

If you are getting flowers, but they are weak or green, it may be due to fertilizer. Green flowers can mean too much fertilizer, whereas weak flowers can mean that the plant needs fertilizer so that it can get more phosphorous. Peace lilies can grow fine without fertilizer for quite some time, and different people choose how often they prefer fertilization. Some fertilize every six weeks while others wait until the plant shows signs that it needs a bit of help. Especially if you fertilize often, take the plant outside or in the sink every six months or so and flush them with water to keep any salt from building up from fertilizing.

09

Possible diseases and pests

wilting and browning peace lily GavinD / Getty Images

There are a few possible health issues that a peace lily can have, usually easily solved. Yellowing leaves can be caused by overwatering or underwatering, or sometimes that leaf is just getting old and ready to fall out. Brown leaf edges are usually from too much sunlight or over-fertilizing, but they can also be caused by not enough water or humidity. If you start getting fungus gnats, water your plant a bit less and let the topsoil dry out a bit more. If that doesn’t work, you may need an insecticide or transplant. Other pests such as scale and mealybugs need a thorough leaf washing. Wipe down the leaves with soapy water until signs of these bugs are gone. Experiment with watering, fertilizing, and sunlight to see what your peace lily thrives on.

10

Benefits of peace lilies

woman smiling with peace lilies FatCamera / Getty Images

Though poisonous and not edible, peace lilies can have some wonderful benefits. Many have quoted a 1989 NASA study that demonstrated plants like peace lilies have purifying and improving air quality. While this is an exaggeration of a plant’s abilities in a large space like an office or home, they do still help remove formaldehyde, benzene and carbon monoxide. Though not a miracle air cleanser, they still help clear the air.

Plants and flowers can also help people reduce stress, improve concentration, minimize seasonal depression, and a whole host of other psychological benefits. This trait is not specific or exclusive to peace lilies, but their simplicity helps beginners and those unable to care for more complex plants. They are a wonderful house plant to start a collection or keep a simple bit of greenery in a living or workspace. Peace lilies make your world a little brighter and your room a little greener.

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